With her free-spirited daughter away at college and her "hip" ex-husband living across the country, Charlotte has grown used to being alone. For the most part, she prefers it. She relies on familiar routines: manicures, grocery shopping, game shows. But at night, no matter how hard she tries (and in spite of the Dream Machine her daughter Emily sent her) she can't stop her logical mind from running wild -- imagining burglars, strange noises, and all manner of trouble that might befall her fearless daughter. Having just graduated from Wesleyan with a pierced tongue and an arsenal of opinions, Emily has always been passionate about her beliefs -- from mindfulness to vegetarianism to her new live-in boyfriend. Though Charlotte rarely understands her, she's learned to keep her doubts to herself. But when Emily and the new boyfriend arrive for a weekend visit, secrets are revealed that compel Charlotte to take a stand. Forced to examine her own life choices, she's about to learn she can't control everything. What she can do is open her heart to new possibilities, and to the fact that headstrong Emily might have a thing or two to teach them all.
Elise Juska's short stories have appeared in many magazines, including The Hudson Review, Harvard Review, Salmagundi, Black Warrior Review, Calyx, and The Seattle Review. She teaches fiction writing at The New School in New York City and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her first novel, Getting Over Jack Wagner, is available from Downtown Press. Visit the author's website: www.elisejuska.com.